update: welcome readers from NowPublic.com
All Rise For The Hangman
He comes from the land of the dead.
Leaving his victims with eyes full of dread.
The crime has been done and the price will be paid.
All hell breaks loose and justice is being made.
Stretch the rope, hang it high!
Bring the sinner, he’s about to die!
God cant help you, nobody can!
Open the gates, all rise for the hangman
Condemned to be hung its the worst kind of death.
The judge has no mercy he has only wrath.
Dont look for redemption inside your psycho mind.
When the hangman is here damnation is all you’ll find.
As the rope is tight around your neck.
No need for regret no use looking back.
Your face turning red and you’re burning inside.
You’re going to hell and its a one way ride.
Pondering the big news story of the day, Saddams pending and long overdue demise, I am reminded of an event I experienced in 1974 while stationed at Clark AB, in Angeles City, Republic of the Philippine Islands.
It was a sweltering day during the dry season. The SYM shared a two bedroom apartment with his best friend and their girlfriends, who were sisters. The apartment had no air conditioning, they only used fans, and it didn’t bother them much except in the middle of the afternoon when the equatorial Sun shown straight down on the corrugated metal roof.
The SYM had been sleeping, after arriving home at around 7:30a.m., from working a graveyard shift. The heat made it uncomfortable to sleep so he got up to get something cold to drink with the intent of going back to bed after making a few phone calls. He got a glass of iced tea, turned on the television and sat back in the rattan couch with two fans on high speed. There was a TV station broadcasting out of Manila, about ninety miles south, that always had a good American Western movie on at about 1p.m. The movie was very good and he had never seen it before. He became lost in the morality play, with a sleep deprived mind and personal thoughts. Then something happened that he did not expect(who could?) and it altered his perspective on where he was, how he conducted himself and just what a tyrant was capable of.
President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law on 21 Sep 72 by signing Proclamation 1081. There is much info in the hyperlinks to explain what happened during this period of time and will leave it to you if you chose to read it. The main theme Marcos promoted from this ambitious political act was to create a “New Society.” As with all Martial Law states, civil courts are suspended and Military Tribunals take their place. One of the features of this period was the rapid increase of corruption, which had been present, but not as policy. The laws and their enforcement were harsh, and there are many reports of people disappearing or being “invited” to be questioned by the authorities, never to be seen alive again.
There was one young man, I can’t remember his full name and can’t find it on the net, but I remember his first name was ‘Mao,’ and he was of Chinese descent. There had always been a large Chinese population in the Philippines, as they have been master sailors and traders for many centuries. This young man was arrested and charged with the illegal production of heroin, tried by Tribunal and found guilty. I had heard about it on the radio and heard a few people mention it, but it didn’t really concern me, just more news. Many of us speculated that his real crime was not paying off the right people, enough people, or paying off enough. He was sentenced to death.
With that info, I return you to a sweaty young man sitting on a couch watching a Western movie. Suddenly, the movie was interrupted by a blank screen, then a line of soldiers marching into a courtyard with bright white adobe walls. He thought…“WTF?” Oh, it must be an advertisement for a new movie, but…that can’t be right, the soldiers are carrying M-16’s, not bolt-action rifles…WTF is this? Then a young man was escorted to the wall facing the soldiers, bound to his position and blindfolded. He still couldn’t comprehend what he was seeing, there was no audio, just the natural sounds of the scene and the sounds of some birds. The officer attending the prisoner then briskly stepped aside and in Tagalog instructions were issued, which he could partially understand, and the soldiers charged their weapons and took firing positions. The sweaty young man stood up and got closer to the TV, to try and understand what was going on. When were they going to end this movie trailer and announce the name of the movie, and when it would reach theaters? Then the order to fire was issued. Shots were fired, the prisoner slumped immediately. The attending officer walked over, issued the coup de grace and the screen went blank. The sweaty young man is really perplexed now. Why won’t they give us the details of the movie? Then a voice came on the blank screen…finally…but the short explanation sends chills through his body. “You have just witnessed the execution of Mao(something-something) for crimes against the New Society.” That was it, no further statement was issued and soon the Western resumed.
Perhaps it was because of his state of mind, the fact that he was a Military Policeman that worked with the local and national police, and the realization that this was a democratic country in suspension, that he turned the TV off and stood there in shock. These guys are serious! The image now, of the man being executed, finished off and the cold sterility of the scene had frozen him into a stunned condition. Finally, his roommate and ladies returned from shopping and they looked at him and asked what was wrong. He tried to explain what he had witnessed, but he was incoherent; he couldn’t speak as quickly as the events and thoughts were running through his mind. His roomie offered him a cold San Miguel beer, which he gladly accepted with a shaking hand.
After a little while and after some friendly chit-chat, he was able to express himself more clearly, and to grasp better where he was and what he needed to do. For the next several weeks, he was the best citizen of the world that ever existed. When he came to a stop sign he didn’t just stop, he lingered. He didn’t speed or change lanes without signaling, spit on the ground, or get drunk in public. He did nothing wrong! It’s from that moment that he determined that televising executions live are a powerful deterrent to would-be criminals, but was not something he ever wanted to witness again.
As for Saddam, a nice color print will be sufficient, for me.